Andrea Jakešová, a nutritional therapist from the Ne hladu (No to Hunger) counselling centre, explains why drastic reduction of calorie intake and excessive cut-down on the (commonly, but wrongly feared) carbohydrates does not help to reduce weight.
Why not to give up carbohydrates
“Carbohydrates are a source of energy. Your brain alone needs about 130 g of glucose per day to function properly. It is the most satisfied when supplied continuously – preferably from slow-release carbohydrate sources – i.e. from foods with a low glycaemic index, such as whole grain cereals and cereal products, potatoes cooked in the skin, oatmeal, etc.
As soon as the brain feels a lack of energy, it starts to claim it through uncontrollable cravings for sweets. It no longer wants to wait for slow carbohydrates, it is fighting for his life and wants a good dose of fast sugars, preferably in the form of sweets.”
That is why it’s better to keep carbohydrates in your diet even when trying to lose weight. Just make sure you choose the right carbohydrates and slightly reduce the total amount you can eat – taking into account your activities and energy expenditure, though, of course.
Don’t forget that blood sugar fluctuations caused by irregular eating (long breaks between meals), eating food that is too sweet or foods lacking in fibre and protein also lead to sweet cravings.
The ideal way to start is by limiting energy-dense foods such as fatty cheeses or meats, sugary drinks, alcohol and the aforementioned sweets.”
Just take away 1,000 kJ a day
“In order to slowly but surely lose weight without hunger, nervousness and fatigue, you only need to reduce your daily energy intake by approximately 1000 kJ, while maintaining an ideal nutrient ratio (50-55% of carbohydrates, 15-25% of proteins and 25-30% of fat in the total daily energy intake).”
Regular physical activity will help you, too, of course. Try riding a scooter, which will stretch and strengthen your entire body and easily keep you at an ideal heart rate for burning fat.”
Replenish your energy before physical activity
“Before you get your body going, though, do not forget to replenish your energy by eating sports snacks, which provide sufficient energy before the activity itself (you do not even need to fear a reasonable amount of simple sugars), but also after the activity, in the form of a complex meal containing protein, carbohydrates and a reasonable amount of fat.
Cottage cheese, yoghurt or kefir with blended fruit and oats or cornflakes with milk and banana, etc. will serve you well.
After the activity, have a light meal of non-fat meat or meat substitutes (fish cooked with less fat, chicken breast or pork tenderloin, robi meat replacement are suitable) and lighter side dishes such as potato cooked in the skin, whole grain or basmati rice, couscous, etc. Add vegetables and a small dessert in the form of fruit.
Of course, adjust the size of the portion to the length and intensity of the activity. You might be inspired to move by the fact that an hour and a half of light jogging burns about as much as eight hours of sedentary office work.
Regular exercise is also recommended for those who have already gone through several drastic diets and, as a result have a reduced basal metabolic rate. The natural increase in muscle mass will contribute to increasing the basal metabolic rate again and break the vicious circle.
However, diet is a very individual matter, so if you need advice, go to one of the nutritional counselling centres.”
Andrea Jakešová is a nutritional therapist and co-founder of Ne hladu (No to Hunger) counselling centre. Together with her colleague Veronika Pourova, she wrote the book O výživě (On Nutrition), in which they explain the basics of healthy nutrition in a clear and objective way. Newly, together with other colleagues, they published a cookbook called Vyváženě (In a Balanced Way), which brings 108 recipes for meals with a balanced ratio of proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Andrea’s interest in nutrition and healthy lifestyle was brought about by her personal experience with anorexia, which she struggled with, while at the dance academy.
She graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at Charles University in Prague as a nutritional therapist, and during her studies she founded the blog Ne hladu (No to Hunger) with Veronika Pourova, where they correct false information about nutrition circulating on the internet.